It was hard not to feel the sting when Ashley Madison’s hackers took their jab – “Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags … We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members,” and they went on to expose millions of those “cheaters” names. Whether all those people had an affair or not, since they browsed a cheaters website, thought of cheating, and signed up to cheat – they became “cheaters”.
It’s easy to blame – it’s her fault, it’s his fault, its my job, her family, the stress of having kids. From blame come anger and resentment, neither of which are worth keeping. What we should focus on is what this tells us about relationships, our spouses, and ourselves. Everyone of those 36,000,000 people on that website were there for a reason.
I’ve listened to hundreds of cheating spouses over the last decade, first as an escort and then a madam, and the decision to cheat on a partner was rarely a simple one.
Affairs are more like a cry for help than a deliberate act of betrayal.
There was always a deeper reason than basic promiscuity when a man decided to cheat, “She’s only interested in the kids. That’s what our relationship has become. She bitches about everything and the kids don’t even talk to me, except to ask for money. I bust my ass all day and that’s what I come home to, I’m the family ATM and punching bag,” a married client griped over the phone one day. “I just want to feel like someone appreciates me, even if it’s just for an hour or two.”
On the other line came a different version, “Why should I do anything for him when he excludes himself? He comes home late from work and goes straight into his office. I have to harass him to join us for dinner. I have the kids to raise and his mom to take care of. He never helps out or makes an effort to be part of our family,” a woman confessed, “I know he makes time to see escorts, why can’t he invest that time in us?”
I’ve heard that same story, over and over, when the pressure of life wedged itself between a once-thriving marriage. Nearly a quarter of the population is dealing with those same struggles right now. Spouses rarely talk it over with one another, instead they pull away, and find their own outlets.
Like Ashley Madison, and escorts.
They’re part of a generation called the sandwich generation, or a caregiver sandwich. This means they’re taking care of elderly parents, while still raising children, or juggling boomerang kids who’ve returned home in debt, and they’re doing this while planning for their own retirement. It’s an incredible amount of emotional stress.
(Image Credit: porcorex, iStock)